How Technical Debt Can Affect Your Business In 2022
December 15, 2021 Dave Willis
IBM’s Power Systems is its own ecosystem. Businesses that have been on a platform like IBM i for an extended period of time, from years to decades, can run into challenges that stem from accumulated technical debt.
At a high level, technical debt typically refers to what happens in software development when choosing an easy solution, rather than taking the time when coding and designing business applications. Over-customizations and old code that your business has relied on for so long, may be less expensive, solve an immediate problem, and help in the short term, but end up hurting your business in the long run.
A quick approach can leave your organization with fewer options down the road. Suddenly, you’re stuck with an application that can’t be updated without significant and time-consuming rework. A lot of that has to do with the infrastructure, the operating system, how things have operated over time, and how technical debt now stands in the way of additional movements you want for your business.
It ultimately comes down to the cost, both in time and money, of your accrued technical debt, which can turn an asset into a liability. Organizations can go for years lugging outdated applications behind them. Platforms with strong forward compatibility allow legacy applications to be moved from older equipment to newer equipment with very few modifications, if any.
Power Systems is an excellent example. The IBM Power Systems platform and its predecessors, the AS/400 and the RS/6000, has been around since the late 1980s. This robust platform offers a solid foundation for mission-critical applications and outstanding forward compatibility. Many of the applications architected for old IBM systems can run on the newer IBM i operating systems with little to no modifications. It’s not surprising that so many enterprises remain loyal to the Power Systems platform.
The challenge is that the benefits of the IBM platform can become a liability to the organization due to the fact that they are never forced to upgrade to more modern applications. Instead, users can move their monolithic, and often heavily modified, business applications from one generation of hardware to the next, which causes the problems mentioned above later down the road.
At the beginning of the pandemic, many businesses discovered that their systems weren’t set up optimally to do what they needed to do when things changed. There has been so much innovation over the last 18 months. With all of the big pivots that we at Connectria have helped many of our customers do, technical debt comes down to your ability to do what you want or need to do, when you want or need to do it. Here, working with a partner, like Connectria, can be very helpful.
Many IT admins were forced to look at their infrastructure and face their technical debt, for the first time, as a result of the pandemic. Connectria helped many businesses find ways to mitigate its effects on their business. While addressing technical debt isn’t always easy, there are ways to manage it.
First, figure out which type of technical debt is affecting your business from applications to hardware, people, or facilities. Maintenance fees from older applications can eat into budgets planned for more value-added initiatives. CPUS, storage devices, and network equipment can carry a similar cost of technical debt. If your employees are mostly focused on managing your environment day-to-day rather than spending time on innovation, you may not be realizing the full potential of your IT team. Perhaps the most expensive of all technical debt categories are the facilities you maintain to house equipment.
Next, addressing technical debt is just like anything else, you have to have a strategy around it. Ideally, you can take a step back and look at the bigger picture, which a lot of folks did in 2021. You recognize the technical debt that is building, evaluate it, and you determine your threshold. Until something happens like you have to renew your maintenance, or application, or software contracts.
In short, there can be any number of competing factors or driving forces behind your accumulated technical debt. Eventually, you’ll be in trouble if you let that accumulate too much. Rather than just focus solely on addressing technical debt and how to get rid of it, instead let your overarching business questions guide you:
- What are your business goals?
- How do you plan to innovate?
- What are your technical goals?
- What is it that you’re out to achieve?
There are also options that can help you leverage technical debt, turning it into an asset for your future cloud adoption. One option is to consider a hybrid cloud solution that combines the unique support of a private cloud with the many beneficial services the public cloud can offer. Such a solution allows you to migrate your existing applications and dependent IBM Power platform as-is rather than converting or replacing it and, in many cases, allowing you to leverage the licensing you have a significant investment in.
If you’re looking for a way to accelerate your cloud adoption, leverage current technology investments, with minimal interruption to your user community, then a hybrid cloud may be just the right solution for you. Connectria’s IBM Power on-net with AWS Hybrid Cloud solution allows your company to move traditional IBM Power workloads and their integrated x86 workloads to the cloud with the same, if not better, performance as they have in-house with considerably more resilience and scalability which many IT shops cannot build on their own.
Connectria can make your business work better. No other managed services provider has more experience with the IBM Power Systems platform than we do. Connectria cloud professional services can also help you realize your cloud vision with expert AWS and Azure-certified consulting and engineering services. Our solutions and services help you shed technical debt, increase IT agility, and transform your business.
Connectria has been helping organizations modernize their IT infrastructure for more than two decades. Traditionally, we’ve focused on the infrastructure element, offering a wide variety of services such as cloud migration, managed hosting, remote management, and more. Connectria can capture a strong TCO that enables our customers to make the right decisions for their business.
We have built some powerful models that enable us to speak with CIOs, CTOs, and other company leaders to help them understand how they can build a strong ROI. We help address several challenges folks have right now from technical debt to performance, speed, availability, security, and compliance.
Interested in learning more? Set up a consultation with one of our advisors.
Dave Willis is regional director of sales at Connectria.
This content is sponsored by Connectria.